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The Love Secrets of Don Juan . r 3 : ' '- ' O

I can‘t help myself. Or to be more precise, l 2 1.. can‘t self-help myself. A case of can't live

S with ‘em . . . only its not humans with which

. this helpless self struggles to coexist. but all ?~—‘-\

" those how-to-live-your-life manuals and their ' x O) cod philosophy of the fish-needs-a-bicycle

variety. But hey, we can still be friends and influence people, can't we? No! It‘s over. Turn around. now. Cos you‘re not welcome anymore. And please take that copy of Men are from Venus with you. See, The Love Secrets of Don Juan is not a book to merit much analysis. It doesn‘t score high on the mirthometer and is very unlikely to shape your worldview. And it is not, despite the following quote, about ennui and fishing quotas: ‘The pond is depleted. Your rod is broken. You‘ve gone off fish anyway. . . but you're hungry.‘ Insatiable even. For one cannot survive on a diet of homily and happy ending alone. A little wit and

wisdom would be welcome. C‘mon, Tim, give it a

go. ‘The most fundamental [lesson] for any man.

Be watchful. Never, never, never take a woman for granted. The price of love is perpetual vigilance.‘ Well, yes, that and the Bang & Olufsen stereo when it comes to dividing the spoils of divorce between narrator Danny ‘Spike‘ Savage and his soon-to-be ex-wife Beth Collins.

But it would be oh-so-easy to deride this novel as fluffy bloke-lit (Hornby/Parsons without the add-ons of music, football, cute kid etc). Easier still to drop in yet more quotes out of context in a cheap and sneery fashion. ‘Nothing can be done. Everything that’s real is an illusion.

Everything that’s true is untrue . . . in this there is hope)

Not half as easy though as the ploy of the author

in playing the irony card and having his male menopausal character enjoy a cosy ending that includes writing a book called 10 Nightmare Things

About Women. Which, guess what, is just what he’s been exploring in the story. Neat, huh?

In fact the best and funniest bit, even if the ‘fun‘ in this context must surely derive from 'funeral’, is the postscript. Here all the characters are dealt their fate and Spike’s therapist is particularly hard done by, ending up in a mental hospital. But as Spike says, 'a la Sartre: we are all alone. Deep,

eh? As Jean-Paul never quite said: hell is other people’s

hackneyed novels. (Rodger Evans)



Tim Lott makes a disastrous attempt at putting the ‘man’ in ‘self-help manual’

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nirlr. ryan

Tracking Nazis with Orwellian candour #4,,- -

104 THE LIST '~ ' -.-.

Shelf life

ClaSS/c nove/s TENS/{80 This Issue: The Shape of Things to Come

Pubhshed What‘s the story

What the critics said

Key moment '

Postcript P/‘i‘rilig. ".-..